250483 Access to oral health care: Barriers and enablers for Somali immigrants

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homa Amini, DDS, MPH, MS , Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
Oral diseases are a major cause of infection, tooth loss, and incapacitating pain. They can impact individuals, their family, the community, and society as a whole. Oral health problems have been linked to a person's inability to maintain a job and lowered academic achievement. Families may be affected if one cannot carry out domestic functions or play his or her typical role in the family due to an oral health condition. Since some population groups suffer a higher burden of oral disease than others, the impact on these communities may be more pronounced than on the population as a whole. The 2000 Surgeon General's report documented disparities in oral health status of immigrants as compared to the non-immigrant population in the US. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the oral health status of a sample of Somali immigrant children in Columbus, Ohio and identify barriers to accessing dental care. 36% of children had active dental caries and 57% showed evidence of past caries experience. 25% had urgent treatment needs. There was a significant association between pain and treatment urgency (P=0.014). Barriers identified included the cost of dental care, language problems, low priority given to oral health care, mistrust of the health care system, difficulties in making appointments, problems with resettlement, and lack of transportation. Enabling factors included health care resource knowledge, language proficiency and years living in the US.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List barriers to oral health care for Somali population in Ohio Describe oral health status of Somali children in Ohio

Keywords: Barriers to Care, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee oral health programs for immigrants in a pediatric dental clinic and have the credentials for conducting the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.